Eija Heward made a stained glass cross for me a few years back. The cross itself mother-of-pearl. A sunny yellow circle surrounds the center of the cross, with blue and yellow rays angling out of it. It’s a sunburst cross. It matches my living room colors perfectly, and spends a good part of the year there on a high shelf. I’d like to hang it in a window, but my two cats jump for it whenever I make the attempt. When the afternoon sun hits it, my cross glows. When I see it, I think of Eija, my faith, and the beauty of the world. Then comes summer.

In the good weather, my cross moves outside to a wrought iron trellis shaped like a church window – pointed on the top, curving downward, and ending in straight sides. The cross hangs from the center point, suspended the trellis. Soon after the sun rises, its rays find the cross, sending blue and yellow light everywhere. If there’s a breeze, the turning cross flashes so brightly it can be seen all the way down the street. What is beautiful and serene in my living room is sparkly and brilliant in direct sunlight. Sometimes it’s so bright the cross itself disappears in the light. I’m amazed every time I see it flash and shine.

A cross is a symbol of the Christian faith, but this cross more than most I’ve ever seen. It is beautiful in any location, but only when it is filled with sunlight is it fully itself. To bear light so well that it’s form disappears, transformed into brilliance: isn’t that what faith and life are all about? Thank you, Eija, for the cross and the truth that shines through it.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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